Have you gained followers but your business hasn’t grown? Are you wasting your time on Instagram? I’ll let you in on a secret: You Don’t Need a Large Instagram Following to Have a Successful Business.
It’s been a while since I talked about blogging and business over here. I’m pretty sure the last post was in March when I talked about What No One Tells You About Quitting Your Corporate Job. It’s not that I don’t find posts on this subject interesting (quite the opposite!) it’s just that I know the majority of you aren’t necessarily here for business tips. And that’s okay…But I also know that those of you who have followed THM from the start and/or are growing and running their own businesses can find a lot of value from these reflections and it is for that very reason that I’m here today.
I often get inspiration for these posts from conversations I have in my day-to-day life. I notice that when certain conversations keep happening again and again that it’s probably a theme a larger number of people are struggling with. Of course, everyone’s situation is unique so any advice should be taken with a grain of salt, but if my experience resonates with you I hope that it can be helpful. So let’s jump into the topic of today’s post: Instagram.
I’m not here to complain about the Instagram algorithm or dive deep into the evils of social media. I don’t think social media and Instagram in particular are inherently are evil. I do think it’s dangerous to take in any media at face value and especially dangerous when you’re comparing it to your own experiences. That being said, we control the throttle and it is up to us to make those reflections, not the platform. As for the algorithm, well it’s Instagram/Facebook’s prerogative. We use Instagram for free and at little to no cost to us (monetarily – without paying for ads that is) so it’s a privilege to have access to it. Social media owes nothing to us so it’s futile to complain about it…moving on!
What I want to talk about today is the notion that more Instagram followers = more successful business. I’ve heard this time and time again. Things like:
“Once I hit 10k followers I’ll get more business”
“I need to figure out Instagram – I know it’s what’s holding back my business”
“So and so has X number of followers – she’s killing it!”
“She talks about being so successful but she barely has any followers”
These are all actual quotes from people I’ve interacted with (I promise I’m not creepily recording people – but when I noticed a theme I started jotting down notes). It seems that somewhere along the way, we equated more Instagram followers with success. And I hate to be the person to burst your bubble, but that simply isn’t true.
I’m a prime example of this. Yes, I know that comparatively 45k followers on Instagram is a lot to most people. But if you compare it to the number of readers I have here on the blog it only makes up 10% of my readers. Maybe I haven’t done a great job at promoting my Instagram (hey there! want to follow me?) but it’s more likely that my audience either isn’t on or doesn’t feel the need to follow me on that platform. Something I am more than okay with.
Because here’s the deal: Instagram is a marketing platform for me. One of many marketing platforms at my fingertips. Yes, it’s also a place where I get to connect with my audience (a feature that I love!), but it’s not where my value lies. I know that my value is in the content I create. Whether it’s on the blog, or the podcast or on YouTube. It could also be the events I host or the Camp Wellness retreat. Instagram is a way for me to share that material.
This applies to most businesses. Maybe you’re a nutritionist and are looking to grow your client base. Or maybe you own a product that you’re trying to sell. Your value is in the business and that needs to be the first thing on your priority list. Yes, Instagram may get you more clients or sales but honestly, the correlation is not all that direct. Have you gone out and networked with other professionals in your area? Have you established solid referral networks? Have you sampled products at events? Have you created a valuable email sequence? Or a freemium to offer? These are all incredible ways to market your business that have nothing to do with Instagram.
There is, of course the exception of those people who have built their businesses on Instagram. There is nothing wrong with this, but I do caution against anyone building their business on somebody else’s platform. You are subject to the rules of someone else’s business and for me personally, that is scary. However, the good news is that clearly what you’ve built on Instagram is successful so replicate it in other baskets – and preferably one that you own.
I know people who have 300,000 followers but haven’t figured out their value or made any money. I know people with less than 1k followers who are absolutely killing it. And I also know people with tons of followers and huge businesses and vice versa. There isn’t always a correlation between followers and success. The difference is that the person with 1k followers and a successful business has put in the work to figure out their value and is spending their time wisely with actual strategies that grow their business. Whereas the person with 300,000 followers spends most of their day on Instagram commenting and liking things that aren’t directly helping their business grow.
Does Instagram matter? Absolutely. But is it the be all and end all of your business? Not really. So next time you’re debating between using “ludwig” or “juno” and how to write the perfect caption, think about whether your time could be better spent elsewhere. Because let’s be real, in 5 years Instagram will probably be the next MySpace and you’ll wonder why the heck you spent so much time there.
Hope this helps!
P.S. If you found this post helpful and want to dive deep into your business strategy to see your business grow, I welcome you to join us at Camp Wellness – a women in wellness retreat to help you identify your passion, align with your values and make practical choices to move forward with your business. Learn more here.
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Photos by: Bettina Bogar